Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spain Trip: (Madrid) The Sights, Part I

After a long flight, we arrived in Madrid!

While most people would probably take taxi cabs from the airport to hotel for the sake of convenience, my mom and I hopped on the metro (3 connections!) and eventually found our way to our hostale. I was so proud of us!

After we dropped off our bags and freshened up a bit, we headed out to explore Madrid. The plan was to visit the Royal Palace, Puerta de Sol, Plaza Mayor, and everything else along the way. Our hostale was conveniently located so we didn't have to take the metro anywhere. Madrid is quite small and pedestrian friendly.

Previously in my recaps, I talked about the crappy weather. Well, the first day we arrived in Madrid, it was breezy and sunny (!!), but little did we know that it would be our only sunny day.

Puerta del Sol is Madrid's most famous and most central square. Lots of restaurants, hotels, and boutique shops nearby. Very vibrant and crowded. Spain's Kilometre Zero is located here - it marks the official starting point of Spain's 6 National Roads. And there are three statues at Puerta del Sol, the most famous one is the Bear and the Strawberry Tree.

Madrid's Royal Palace is the largest royal palace in Western Europe. It's beautiful and stately, don't you think? I really like this picture. :)

The interior of the Palace is richly decorated by artists.

After our visit to the Royal Palace, we took at break at Plaza de Oriente. Plaza de Oriente is very peaceful. The landscaped gardens are enclosed in a kind of semi-circular design. It has a number of statues of Spanish kings from the medieval period.

This spacious plaza is a popular place with visitors to the city, as well as with locals. There are many cafes that line the area.

On the way to Plaza Mayor, we saw many places selling jamon - Spanish cured ham. Seeing that a jamon sandwich was only 1 euro, my mom and I both had one. It was good the first bite, but afterwards it tasted gross and salty.

Plaza Mayor is Madrid's main square. It is located right in the center of the city, just a few minutes walk from the Puerta del Sol.

Despite the high prices charged by the restaurants and cafes under the arches that surround the square, this is still a great place to sit out, have dinner, people-watch, and enjoy free entertainment.

Since it was so nice out, my mom and I decided to have dinner there. I am glad we did because for the remainder of our stay, the restaurants didn't even tables and chairs set up due to the poor weather.

We walked around the Plaza and notcied that all the restaurants had, more or less, the same menu. So we randomly picked one and ordered seafood paella to share.

This time, instead of too salty, the paella was tasteless! I will do a whole post on what we ate while in Spain, but overall, I do not like Spanish food.

While eating, we were treated to singing and dancing. Fast forward to about 00:20 and say hi to my mom!



After dinner, we walked around some more and heard more music.

Finally, we ended the night with this shot of Puerta del Sol.

It was a very enjoyable first day! I didn't even feel jet-lagged, but it sure felt nice to finally be snuggled under the blanket for a deep sleep.

Next: I will show you the remainder of Madrid!

6 comments:

  1. oh the photos are gorgeous!
    hmm, i've heard good things about paella so i'm a little surprised that it was tasteless/too salty. maybe it was just the restaurants?

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  2. I love all of your photos. You are very talented!

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  3. I really enjoyed your photos and video. And you get to go to Ireland next? Good for you, that sounds so fun! :)

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  4. Wow. You really traveled (Metro, Feet) a lot on your first day! I got a little tired thinking about it - but I can understand not wanting to waste a minute while you were there.

    That Bear and the Strawberry Tree picture is really cool as is the one of the "jamon deli".

    Thanks for sharing the pictures! I'm all set to put on my red cape and say "Toro!"

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  5. Oh how amazing!!! I can't wait to hear more about your trip! And that's so exciting that you are going to Ireland!!

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  6. I'm really enjoying tagging along with you through Spain! Your photos and video are great, though I'm sorry to hear that the food was disappointing. One of the major draws for me would be Spanish food, so this makes me reconsider just a bit. But only just a bit. :) Even so, all that cured jambon looked amazing. Can't wait to see what comes next!

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